January 01, 2023
Wasps are one of the most common and also one of the most vilified insects. Yet, they are important pollinators and have fascinating life stories. Of the many wasp species, paper wasps are probably more noticeable as they often construct their nest within our houses. These wasps build their nests using wood pulp mixed with their saliva, and get their name from the paper-like texture of their nests.
Sometime ago, there were a couple of paper wasp nests in my house. These wasps were of the species Ropalidia cyathiformis and they were tiny, measuring only a few millimeters. I spent many days observing the nests during the pandemic.
Unlike other paper wasps, all the females can and do lay eggs in this species. Hence, the dominant females continuously bully the others, trying to dissuade them from laying eggs. This film follows a pair of wasp sisters, their struggles in the parent nest and their journey from leaving their parent nest to constructing their own nests. The entire film was shot over a span of around two years.